Monday, July 28, 2014

The Obama years: a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?

Obama points to the Kansas delegation while giving his address at the
Democratic National Convention in 2004. Via Wikipedia.

In 2008, Barack Obama preached hope, not cynicism, but anyone who knows me is aware that I was cynical from day one about the young, inexperienced senator’s qualifications for the presidency – and besides I was a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter in the primary. Now I feel something akin to pity for our graying second-term president as he’s since learned the magic of his personality on display in Boston 10 years ago has not been sufficient to cure the world’s ills.

But here’s the thing, all things considered, I believe Obama has done a credible job so far in the Oval Office. Politico goes into depth, however, highlighting Obama’s “hits and blunders” on the tenth anniversary this Sunday, July 27, 2014 of his keynote speech at the Democratic Convention.

Dovere and Nather write:

Barack Obama’s Democratic National Convention keynote delivered 10 years ago Sunday evening started his journey to the White House.

Those 18 minutes in Boston reshaped American politics. Obama spent a long passage of his speech extolling Democratic nominee John Kerry, but he wasn’t the one whose presidential prospects most people left the Fleet Center buzzing about. Caught by surprise by a convention keynote that was actually worth watching, the crowd went wild. Even Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson were spotted clapping for him.

A decade later, the speech remains a road map to the Obama agenda — and the many places where he’s fallen short in his term and a half so far.

The parts that hold up well: transitioning from a manufacturing base, the pursuit of enemies (like Osama bin Laden), a cooperative economy, voting rights, solving the “health care crisis,” “a road to opportunity” for the middle class.

But parts come across as the oratorical equivalent of an embarrassing hairdo in a high school yearbook.
The line most associated with the speech — “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America, there’s the United States of America” — is the part that’s probably held up the least well over time.

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